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Google’s new call filter sends spam straight to voicemail

Published Apr 11th, 2018 8:00PM EDT
Google Phone spam calls to voicemailq
Image: Google

Spam calling has become a focus for networks and phone makers lately. All four of the big mobile networks now offer some kind of spam filtering service, which will change the caller ID to something like “likely scam.” Google goes a step further and identifies scam calls within the Google Phone app, flashing the screen bright red to try and help you not pick up.

But according to a beta test program seen by 9to5Google, the company is planning on going a step further. On the beta version of the Google Phone app, which is available on Pixel, Nexus, and Android One devices, Google won’t let the call ring through to your phone at all. It puts the scammer straight to voicemail, and you don’t get a missed call notification or voicemail notification. Instead, you have to click through to the voicemail or call history to see the incoming call.

Basically, it means Google is treating spam calls just like it does spam emails: The message does eventually get through, but you have to go looking to find it. Obviously, this relies on Google being able to accurately identify real spam calls, but provided there’s no abundance of false positives, it could demolish the spam calling industry virtually overnight.

Anyone on an Android device can test the new feature right now. Just head to the Play Store listing, scroll down to the bottom, and click on “become a tester” to download the app.